4 Effective Ways To Deal with Endometriosis Flare-Ups
Flare-ups are fairly common for endometriosis patients and are one of the worst sides of this disease. It’s when this illness stops being invisible. Like fireworks, but bad, extremely bad. As bothersome as a baby goat using your stomach as a trampoline. They may involve bouts of pain so severe, that a visit to the hospital emergency room is required. On other occasions, it’s an emotional or physical break down, an inability to open one’s eyes, or a debilitating migraine. They interrupt plans and make healthy routines very difficult to upkeep.
How I manage endometriosis flare-ups
During flare-ups (or what I call my "werewolf days"), I reach for the following:
My beloved TENS machine
A TENS machine is a clever little gadget that gives small electrical pulses.1 These pulses are delivered to the afflicted areas of the body via pads. It produces a numbing effect that lasts even after I have switched off the machine. It relieves moderate-to-high pain quite effectively, leaving me in a floaty state. It’s important to make sure it’s fully charged, so it can be used as soon as the pain starts. I bought mine online for about $20.
Chocolate and CBD oil
CBD oil is one of those substances that have become quite trendy lately. It’s cannabinoid oil, which means it presents the calming properties of cannabis2 without any of the hallucinogenic effects, since it has no THC.3 While it doesn’t completely eliminate the pain, it does take the edge of it. It can also keep anxiety attacks in check. Since it doesn't taste particularly nice, my favourite way to take is is with chocolate. You can’t beat CBD mixed with comforting hot cocoa.
Although everyone seems to be talking about it right now - even health stores are stocking it - depending on where you live, CBD oil may be legal or not. Before using CBD oil, it’s worth checking this out, especially if you intend to travel with it.
Instead of drinking coffee, I use turmeric to create dairy-free lattes. Alternatively I mix it in a smoothie or drink it in tea form. Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory and has been found to have some pain-relief properties.4
Easy, non-trying tasks
For me it’s either watching comfort TV ("Rupaul’s Drag Race" is my jam), limiting work to a minimum, or ordering food instead of cooking it myself. Having simple, plan Bs in place can make a world of difference.
Brain fog, or a severe inability to focus on anything, is usual with flare-ups. It can occur due to chronic fatigue, or after strong pain that lasts more than a couple of hours. Sometimes it’s not even possible to keep one’s eyes open. So doing at little as possible, or only easy-to-do tasks, is the way forward.
The frustrations of flare-ups
Flare-ups can be extremely disrupting. The loss of control over our own bodies is a frustrating and very upsetting experience. But, we can regain some of that power back by finding the right tools that work for us.
Flare-ups are also very personal. What works for me, may not be as good for everyone else, so if you feel like sharing, why not tell us what you reach for during flare-ups?
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?